Mission and recent history

The SIRA Water and Wastewater Subcommittee liaises with the Northern Beaches Council, our local member of parliament and local residents to investigate sustainable water supply solutions for the island and lobby the government to address the needs of the community. 

Scotland Island’s steep slopes, small blocks and clay soils are not well suited for on-site sewerage disposal and many properties are facing difficulties with their system. 

Sydney Water has a condition in their operation licence to install a wastewater system on Scotland Island (but not main water). For years, Sydney Water has refused to address this condition and has lobbied to have it removed during the last review of their licence, citing the high price of such an installation. In 2020, The State government funded an options review study and a feasibility study. Both were managed by Northern Beaches Council.  A working group of community representatives (including but not limited to SIRA representatives) was put in place by Council during these studies.

The options review study included site inspections,and  water sampling of treated effluent release over the island.  The study listed many options from “do nothing” to high-end engineering; then based on predetermined criteria (at his stage exclusive of cost), went through a selective process to narrow it to three solutions.  The outcome was presented to the community and is available online in a large report.  The second study looked further into the technical aspect and capital and operational cost feasibility of the preferred options,  Only the front runner option was priced.  

All the information can be found on the Northern Beaches Website on this page: https://yoursay.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/scotlandislandwater. 

 The document library at the bottom includes the report and other associated documentation.  

The study was endorsed by Council in November 2020 and Council wrote to the NSW Government to ask for the implementation of the proposed solution.  It is important to note that this solution would bring both main water and sewerage services to the island for a price lower than initially estimated by Sydney Water. 

Current situation

In 2021, SIRA met with Rob Stokes, local MP for Pittwater and subsequently with the then Minister for Water, Melinda Pavey.  The Minister for Water instructed Sydney Water to review the study and provide to her the outcome of the review. Minister Pavey was to respond to Council and SIRA’s request for implementation of the solution late 2021.  In December 2021, a new Minister for Water was appointed. SIRA is currently following this up with Rob Stokes office.